Justin Welby doubt
Church of England

Shock! Justin Welby admits that he believes in God

This is of course a ridiculous headline, but what makes it ridiculous? There are plenty of people who don’t believe in God after all.

We make assumptions all of the time and a common one is that our leaders are in some way just a little bit superhuman. Too often we expect a level of perfection that few of us could match. Unless they are a wonderful orator, intelligent, reasonably good looking (or exceptionally if they are a woman) with a decent dress sense and a history of relationships that are without blemish, we are left disappointed or worse. Just look at poor Ed Miliband. He can say what he likes, but he can’t get away from his resemblance to Nick Park’s Wallace. It will forever hinder his political career.

Is it the same for our religious leaders. Can we only allow them to have a concrete and unshakeable faith? Judging by the reaction to the revelations that Justin Welby, our Archbishop of Canterbury has occasions when he struggles to make sense of his belief in God, it would appear to be the case  – in the media’s eyes at least.

Having been asked if he ever had doubts during a service at Bristol Cathedral, he replied, “Yes I do. I mean there are moments, sure, where you think ‘is there a God?’, ‘Where is God? The other day I was praying over something while I was running and I ended up saying to God, ‘this is all very well, but isn’t it about time you did something, if you’re there,’ which is not probably what the Archbishop of Canterbury should say.”

Are such thoughts really of such significance that they deserve to make the headlines? Apparently so. ‘Justin Welby doubts the existence of God!’ announced the papers and the BBC. Has it therefore been decided somewhere in the ether that Justin Welby has to have utter confidence in all matters of things spiritual? This says far more about a lack of appreciation of the nature of faith by those reporting his words than it does about Justin Welby himself.

If those who bring us the news and the majority of those who consume it had any idea what the Bible says, they would see that doubt is a continually recurring theme. The Psalms are full of it:

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:1,2)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1,2)

But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
From my youth I have suffered and been close to death; I have borne your terrors and am in despair. (Psalm:88:13-15)

Great heroes from the pages of the Bible, including King David, Elijah, Job and ‘doubting’ Thomas had desperate moments of questioning God. John the Baptist had a major crisis of faith regarding Jesus’ divinity, despite having waited his adult life to baptise him as the Messiah. Even Jesus had his moment of turmoil in the Garden of Gethsemane.

So Justin Welby is in good company. He is doing little more than being frankly honest about his relationship with God. There are things he finds wonderful about his faith and others he finds frustrating and challenging. He is not trying to pretend to be something he isn’t and most Christians will find his words resonating with their own experiences.

If anyone were to be brave enough to ask Pope Francis the same question, there is a very good chance he would say the same things. Mother Theresa who has been held aloft as one of the greatest modern Christians once wrote: “Darkness is such that I really do not see—neither with my mind nor with my reason—the place of God in my soul is blank—There is no God in me—when the pain of longing is so great—I just long and long for God. … The torture and pain I can’t explain.”

If we refuse to question our beliefs, whether they be religious or otherwise, the risk of fundamentalism increases dramatically. There is a reason why the religious right in the US is treated with such scepticism over here. Would those who hold to the ideologically blinkered views of groups like Islamic State be committing the evil horrors we have been seeing if they were open to questioning their beliefs and willing to entertain doubt?

Why then too, do we refuse to allow our political leaders to admit to doubts in what they do without penalising them? Can we envisage a political climate where we see similar levels of genuine honesty from David Cameron? How much does he doubt himself in his abilities and role? We are unlikely to know the truth until he publishes his memoirs sometime in the distant future. Would not a bit more vulnerability actually be a good thing in politics here in our country?

But back to Justin Welby. The media might have lapped up his comments during the interview on his brief flashes of uncertainty, but there was plenty else he said. Welby has good reason to question God; he had a very dysfunctional childhood, lost a child in a car crash and has seen the worst excesses of bloody wars firsthand and yet (and this is by far the most important point) he still believes in God and chooses to follow him above all else:

“It is not about feelings, it is about the fact that God is faithful and the extraordinary thing about being a Christian is that God is faithful when we are not. He loves us when we get exactly into the wrong place. He doesn’t say sort yourself out and I’ll find you, He comes alongside us and says let’s go from here. So there may be people whose lives are complete havoc and they know they’ve really messed up and God doesn’t say: ‘Once you’re out of the mess we’ll move on together.’ He says, ‘I’m right here, let’s start dealing with this together.'”

Justin Welby, like millions of other Christians around the world, believes in a God who can handle our doubts and will draw close enough to bring us through them in one piece and all the stronger for the experience. In the words of the hugely popular worship song by Northern Ireland’s Rend Collective:

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence, You won’t let go
In my questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My Lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
I will trust the promise,
You will carry me safe to shore

  • Martin Yirrell

    If those who bring us the news and the majority of those who consume it had any idea what the Bible says, they would see that doubt is a continually recurring theme. The Psalms are full of it:

    But it seems that doubt is not about the existence of God. Indeed, it appears the problem is not a belief in God but a failure to understand one’s circumstances, a failure remedied by the end of the psalm.

    John the Baptist had a major crisis of faith regarding Jesus’ divinity, despite having waited his adult life to baptise him as the Messiah.

    It’s questionable whether John was seeking an answer or whether he was simply sending his disciples to Jesus, wanting them to follow the Messiah. But at least John was prepared to stand up to the wickedness of the ruler of his day and tell him that he couldn’t do something. Welby just crumbled, together with his fellow bishops, when the pressure over ‘gay’ marriage was on. Welby left his fellow Christians in the lurch, to say nothing of betraying his God.

    The reason ‘pope’ Francis & ‘mother’ Theresa might say the same is simple, they don’t know the God of the Bible. They rely on ‘Tradition’ for their faith. As for your ‘one of the greatest modern Christians’ he clearly cannot write coherently.

    Of course we question our beliefs, we are expected to examine them:

    Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (II Corinthians 13:5 [ESV])

    But what are we to be if not Fundamentalists, those holding to the fundamentals of the Faith? If Welby isn’t a fundamentalist he shouldn’t have accepted the role of Archbishop. (not, of course, that such a role is found in the Bible or could be called fundamental). We could do well to follow some of those US Christians who keep to the fundamentals of the faith.

    Islam has a very different ‘fundamental’ belief to that of Christianity. Islam is a religion where you must do something to make yourself right with Allah. Christianity teaches that nothing you can do will make you right with God, it has to be God’s act that does that.

    None of us chooses to follow God, not one. God chooses whom He will save, just as God chose Israel, Moses, Samuel, David and all the other saints of the Old Testament.

    • When Happy Jack reads what you write he doesn’t get any sense that you are secure in your faith. What comes across is a formula lifted from scripture that you wear like a security blanket.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Perhaps you should pay more attention to Scripture and less to the traditions of men.

        • Martin, Happy Jack pays close attention to Scripture and to those charged with Shepherding Christians down the millennia. Jack openly confesses he is not learned enough to be his own theologian.
          The Holy Spirit brought Jack to the Church and, despite times of questioning and doubt, keeps Jack there, where he will stay.

          • Martin

            HJ

            If you give authority to men to interpret Scripture for you the Bible ceases to be your authority. As the Bible shows us, not even Peter could be trusted fully.

          • That was before Jesus commissioned him and the Apostles to act on His behalf and before Pentecost. Peter remained human but in his role as Shepherd was under Divine guidance. All very biblical too.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’m referring to Peter’s support for the Judaizers, for which Paul had to stand against him.

          • That’s how the Church works, Martin. It is infallible when the Bishops are of one mind with the Vicar of Christ. By definition, it doesn’t mean they all agree with another when differences arise or that the Pope is always right. It means they get together and, with the Holy Spirit’s assistance, arrive at the Truth through prayer, debate and reflection on scripture and tradition. Occasionally, the Pope will determine issues by himself or clarify the mind of the Church. The key to the Jerusalem Council is that Peter agreed with Paul.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Church has never been declared by God as infallible. If your church were infallible it would know that multiple bishops/elders should be appointed in each local church and there is no such thing as the ‘Vicar of Christ’.

            Each individual Christian has the Holy Spirit and must in their own conscience be satisfied as to what Scripture says.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Where else would I get my understanding of the faith but from where God gives it, it the Bible?

        • Er, through His Church. You know, the one He founded.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Church here on Earth is split into many churches and none of them are infallible. The only infallible source is the Bible.

          • The bible has to be understood and applied. And where does it say it contains all truth?

          • Martin

            HJ

            And the Holy Spirit enables the believer to understand and apply the Bible. The Bible doesn’t need to contain all truth, just the truth you need.

          • Except so many people read it differently and form different views about what is needed.

          • Martin

            Because they don’t listen to the Spirit but instead follow their own desires.

    • CliveM

      Martin

      It is reasonable to disagree, to argue and debate. But why do it in such an ungracious manner? You don’t strengthen your case by doing so, you weaken it.

      • Martin

        Clive

        How can one be ‘gracious’ toward a man who has totally failed as a Christian leader? It is a serious matter that he leads people to condemnation and Hell.

        • CliveM

          Totally failed? A bit sweeping. In specific terms what do you actually now expect he should do. He voted against SSM, he spoke out against it, Parliament chose not to listen?

          However when I say ungracious I am reffering to your tendency to make deeply judgemental comments about people and their actions and motivations. All things you are in no position to judge. Disagree with a person, don’t assume evil motives by them.

          • Martin

            Clive

            There are plenty of Christian ministers who have spoken out forcefully on the matter of SSM. I don’t recall Welby condemning the Prime Minister for his wickedness or calling on the Queen not to sign the bill.

        • That’s the contradiction in your theology – right there.

          If God predetermined salvation and damnation before Creation, then no one can be led to Heaven or Hell. To argue so implies another relationship between grace, faith and justification. We have to respond to the grace offered by God to accept faith and, once embraced, then continue walking in the light to become more Christ-like.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Whether the sinner is predestined or not, the one who teaches anything against the Bible still has the responsibility.

          • Who determines if it is against the bible? You?

          • Martin

            HJ

            So why should I not, as one saved by Grace who has the Holy Spirit, not determine by examination of Scripture determine that it is against the Bible. Every Christian must examine what the preacher says against what the Bible says.

    • Hi Martin,

      I don’t know why you seem to think so little of Justin Welby, he seems to me to be quite effective and honest about what he believes. I think he’s had one or two personal tradgeies in his life, such as the death of a child… but still believes, I think that speaks for itself?

      I don’t want to start talking about gay marriage(again!), but surely there is more to faith and God than that issue and more issues presumably make one a heretic than this matter? There must be something deeper to the Christian faith than what goes on in consenting adults bedrooms? Besides which, I don’t see how ABW “caved in”, because the c of e as a whole is forbidden from doing equal marriage, by law. So how can that be a cave in? I also believe ABW voted against equal marriage in the house of lords. So he is hardly caving in..

      As for your call for Christians to be utterly fundamentalist, what do you mean by that, how are you quantifying and defining it? You can’t appeal to tradition, so what is a good fundamentalist in your view?

      PS, I didn’t think protestants did saints…

      • CliveM

        Hannah

        Regards SSM, some people just can’t help obsessing. You do wonder if they are trying to keep a closet door shut somewhere?!

        • This is not the time nor the place, but the issue of homosexuality is a critical one for the Church. Please don’t dismiss those who are against it and speak out as obsessives or as ‘closet’ gays. Some no doubt are (a Scottish Cardinal springs to mind), but it runs much deeper than that.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            I do understand that. As you say this isn’t the time or place. My beef is for those people who believe it is always the time and place, never mind the topic.

          • Hi Clive ,

            That was my point exactly. That and it grotesquely unfair to portray ABW in that way.

        • Martin

          Clive

          You need to realist that sexual immorality is described in Romans 1 as an indicator of the destruction of a society that abandons God.

      • Martin

        Hannah

        All Christians are saints, the NT makes that quite clear:

        “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

        Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

        (Romans 1:7 [ESV]

        for example.

        Justin Welby should realise the reason for sadness and tragedy is the Fall, mankind is, along with the whole of Creation, cursed. Of course, for a believer, all things work for their good so whatever tragedies occur they do so under the hand of their loving God and are to be welcomed. Sadly he seems not to have learnt this basic Christian doctrine at whatever theological college he attended, nor has he learnt it from the minister he was under in his first church.

        As for gay marriage, we once more have to look at fundamental matters of the Christian faith. Christians are called to avoid sin and those who openly take part in sin are to be expelled:

        I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.

        (I Corinthians 6:9-13 [ESV])

        Sadly there are some in the CoE who are openly involved in sexual sin. Yet the hierarchy does nothing to expel them, or even to advise the people to avoid them. Nor did the bishops condemn in a forceful manner the introduction of ‘same sex’ marriage, which isn’t marriage at all.

        These are fundamental matters and if a minister cannot handle them he isn’t suited for the ministry. That is what is required of those who hold to the fundamentals of the faith, things that are clearly laid out in Scripture of which there can be no mistake.

        • Hi Martin,

          Well, that attitude to suffering and tragedies assumes we’re all robots without feeling and ignoring the comments about gay marriage-as I said the bishops voted against it so I think you are being unfair to them- because I’m trying to not get into that today, I’d like to press you on this fundamentalist idea.

          You see , you haven’t told us what those fundamental beliefs actually are or where I can find them. Say I wanted to know about the core of various faiths. I know The anglican has 39, Jews 13 and the Catholic the penny catechism.

          You say scripture. Which bits? For you clearly pick and choose what to follow from scripture,as I doubt the church you belong to advocates the death penalty for adulterous behaviour. We all pick and choose. No point in denying it. But where do you get your authority to pick and choose from, if not some form of tradition, oral or written?

          • Martin

            Hannah

            On the contrary, I don’t assume that we are robots or immune to feelings. Part of the lesson we will learn at the hand of our Heavenly Teacher will be painful but it is designed to add to our justification sanctification that we might be like Him. It will in no way harm us as Paul says:

            And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 [ESV]

            The whole of the Bible is the word of God and it isn’t a matter of choosing bits but to understand the whole. Israel’s ceremonial law was created for Israel and it’s legal system is quite unlike what we have today. But some of the requirements given to Israel are carried over into the NT so clearly are binding on the Christian.

            The NT is quite clear what should be done in the case of open sin in the congregation and it doesn’t include a death sentence.

          • Hi Martin,

            But how do you understand the whole? Did you just read the bible and understand? Or was the biblical interpretation given to you by,say, the church you go to? If so isn’t that tradition of sorts. If not, then what if your views conflict with fellow believers? How do you settle the view. If yes say refer to the bible, what if both views are equally well argued, but are on fundamental beliefs?

          • To me, Hannah, this then becomes the job of the theologians, to go back to the earliest translations, to study, and to debate. And while the rest of us are waiting for the theologians to work it out, we go back to basic principles. Love God and love each other. I’m not saying it’s a flawless answer, it’s not. But in a very flawed world, it’s often the only answer we get.

          • CliveM

            So many pretend at certainty in understanding when certainty doesn’t exist. I think they find the uncertainty frightening. God and Gods love is certain. You are right about our need to keep our eyes on these basic principles.

          • Martin

            ST

            Every Christian should be a theologian to the best of their ability, after all, all Christians have a perfect teacher.

          • Hi sister tibs,

            Thanks for the answer, I like it, but I must have been listening to happy Jack too often. I thought that the Roman Catholic church’s magesterium settled that sort of stuff??

          • This is where we get into the issues of the “creeping infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium” Hannah, and since it is often the point at which cordial relations between progressive and traditionalist Catholics break down, it’s another reason to back off and revert to “love God and love each other” which at least we can all agree on 🙂

          • Hi sister tibs,

            I won’t pry into asking what the “creeping infallibility of the magisterium” is, it’s tough enough trying to understand Judaism (:

          • Happy Jack would like to know what Sister Tibs means too by the “creeping infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium.

            Here’s some links to articles from EWTN, written in 1995 and then updated (just click on them):

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/issues/shawinfa.txt

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/doctrine/TRIGINFL.HTM

            Really, what is there to disagree about.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I don’t think we should back off on these discussions. It is very interesting to get different points of views.Not every Catholic fits into either progressives ,liberal or traditionalists. It is too simplistic to think that as a traditional Catholic one cannot have some progressive view points.There are strands of all of these categories in thinking Catholics unless they are blind fundamentalists.If the Church wanted zombie followers why did they educate us so well, producing vibrant enquiring minds?(especially the women:)

            I think it is most important that Catholics pay heed to conscience. Listening to conscience free of any self interest
            grounded in sound knowledge of dogma and doctrine.
            Catholicism should not be about repression and fear.

            On a personal note I think almost all of Catholic dogma can be explained in a reasonable way…I thought the only person who was infallible was the Pope and only when he spoke ex cathedra. This does not include the Bishops or the Cardinals who make up the magisterium.

            Just sayin’ TIbs:)

          • I would agree with every word of that, Cressida 🙂 My energy for engaging in the discussions tends to be a bit based on how badly my week at work has gone and this one has been a real pain. I also firmly believe that most Catholics sit between the two extremes, gazing with bemusement at the screaming coming from both ends of the scale 🙂

          • Cressida, see the linked articles above.

            The Pope’s ex-cathedra teachings come under the Extraordinary Magisterium (Divinely revealed Truths). The Ordinary Magisterium, i.e. Bishops in union with one another and with the Pope, can teach definitively and this is infallible too (a Truth of Catholic doctrine belonging to the inheritance of the deposit of faith).

            Thus what the Church taught yesterday (say about contraception, divorce and remarriage, women’s ordination, euthanasia etc.) cannot be changed.

            Of course, enquiring women may not agree. Then, that’s why all the problems of the human race first started.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Aquinas said it is morally wrong to act against your conscience.The present Pope does not appear to have your iron fisted inflexibility about certain issues such as divorce and remarriage according to what I have read. You challenge the Pope qnd his opinions…so are you not acting out from your understanding of what Catholicism is and your own conscience? You seem to be falling into the Protestant belief that all sin is of equal value ..that divorced people and married women who take the pill are in the same category as paedophiles prostitutes perverts and abortionists. Your attitudes still lie in the middle ages and are far removed from modern day Catholicism. I don’t know why you present this
            this crushing face of Catholicism on here…no one could breathe living like that and they would be having a lot of therapy.

            Divorce incidentally is permissible in the Catholic Church. Remarriage is not.You know this anyway.

          • For Aquinas, one cannot do the right thing if one does not know what the right thing is. Children do not have a fully formed conscience, so do not understand what is right and wrong. Aquinas believed that one is excused from wrongdoing if one’s conscience is in error and also that one is bound to do the wrong thing if one’s conscience tells one that it is the right thing to do.

            However, he also believed one has a duty to have a well-formed and properly informed conscience. One that knows what the right thing to do is. So, even though an erring conscious excuses one from doing wrong, one may have done wrong in letting one’s conscience fall into error.

            To be honest, Jack doesn’t know what Pope Francis stands for a lot of the time. And anyway a Catholic is not obliged to agree with the personally expressed opinions of a Pope. S/he is required to understand the Church’s teachings and live by them.

            And grievous sin is grievous sin. It is measured by the offence it causes to God and the rupture it brings to our relationship with Him.. All sin harms us and others.

          • Sister Tibs, it is not “the job of the theologians” to settle matters of faith and morals. They serve the Church, sure, but in the final analysis its the job of the Magisterium – and the Pope. And remember, the Church cannot contradict itself. Once a matter is settled – it is settled.

          • See why I don’t start this debate, Hannah? 🙂 HJ, we’ve had this conversation many times, so I’d rather not start it again – but if you read what I said, it came back to what happens when there are two viewpoints, both valid by certain readings of the bible, and contradictory. I said it becomes the task of the theologians to work out if both views are equally valid, or if one is based on a medieval mistranslation of a verse 🙂 Pope Francis said something on this subject recently but I can’t find it, will have to go look again.

          • Sister Tibs, these issues about infallibility were addressed by Pope John Paul II in ‘Ad tuendam fidem’,1998, and ‘Professio Fidei’, 1989, and also in the explanation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in ‘Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei.’

            These were prompted by ‘progressives’ challenging the Church’s position on contraception and women’s ordination. No one can change an infallible doctrine or definitive teaching.

          • http://ncronline.org/news/ordination-ban-not-infallibly-taught

            This is something we simply will not agree on, HJ, so lets leave it here.

          • Hardly a sound reference Sister Tibs. A dodgy publication giving air space to a liberal Bishop.

          • HJ, I will repeat again. We aren’t going to agree on this.

          • This is true but if you post articles such as that, Jack is bound to respond.

            Here’s another one – entitled “Ex-Bishop William Morris is Right.”

            http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=805

          • Also true, but if I know there’s no possibility that I’ll alter your opinion, Jack, there’s a limited incentive to do extensive scanning of additional references 🙂 Googling the two words “creeping infallibility” comes up with a huge number of links for anyone motivated to do further reading 🙂

          • And most will link to liberal ideas.

            Google “Extraordinary and Ordinary Magisterium” instead. Much better.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            As a heretic you will probably feel my views on this are irrelevant. 🙂 and in one sense they are as I have no say. For me the strongest argument you have forewarded for the RC was when you admitted it didn’t have a fixed position on pre-destination. I liked the honesty of the Churches position, it spoke truth and truth is always of God as the devil is the liar.
            My problem is when the church makes the claim that when it’s speaks through as the Church, through the magisterium (or however it works) it speaks infallibly and cannot make error. I am happy to admit that the Holy Spirit is at work within the RC (as in other Churches) but I also believe that even the best of men, sinful as they also are, mis hear or mis understand the spirit. Or perhaps sometime simply choose to ignore. I don’t understand why the RC doesn’t admit to this. It doesn’t seem a strength to me when you can’t admit a mistake, only a weakness? Or perhaps the Church is simply too worried it would lose face and authority?

          • Clive, to understand the RCC’s position means understanding its view about Christ’s promise to it and the authority He entrusted to it. Put simply, the Church teaches it will not be permitted by God to make errors in matters of doctrine, dogma and morals.

            Far from being a weakness, Jack sees indefectibility and infallibility as a great strength.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Why hasn’t the Holy Spirit given the Church then a difinative position on predestination? This is clearly a matter of some “debate” and contention.

            I have tended to shy away from these debates as they can easily degenerate into knocking excercises. However even if you were to concede the RC’s view of its authority (which I don’t necessarily) it is still a big step to say it cannot err.

          • There is no “contention” within the Catholic Church on predestination. There was some disagreement centuries ago between Dominicans and Jesuits about how God worked in this matter but the Church left the issue open. However, the difference was a fine one – and not about the Calvinist doctrine of ‘double predestination.
            As for it being a big step to say the Church cannot err. Yes, it is. However, as seen by a Catholic, we are talking here about Divinely revealed Truth and also use of the teaching office invested with the gifts, power and authority of Jesus.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Thanks for indulging an old heretic!!

            Btw I feel a little guilty that that you may feel I was having a go at you about SSM. This wasn’t my intention, I just get a little impatient with a certain individual!! My statement wasn’t meant to be applied generally.

          • Martin, not at all – and your heresy is mitigated by your willingness to ask questions in a positive manner. As for SSM, Jack can be insensitive and didn’t notice if you were having a go at him. Besides, is guilt something a good protestant should experience? Isn’t it reserved for Catholics?

          • CliveM

            Sadly no!! It’s a myth.

          • You just carry on listening to Happy Jack, Hannah. The Extraordinary and Ordinary Magisterium does settle these things.

          • Martin

            Hannah

            How you understand the Bible is by reading and studying it. If your views conflict you go to the Bible which will settle the conflict.

          • Hi Martin,

            But how does that settle anything? Eg numerous times on this blog there have been disputes about the formation of the church. Roman Catholics argue the their church is the church and it was founded via that passage about Peter being the rock. I’ve not come across a protestant who agrees with this and they come up with counter arguments. The same goes for the holy communion and what that’s all about. None of these issues seems to have been settled objectively. It’s been settled by reading into whatever people have wanted to read into it. As I said above cherry picking and picking and choosing. I’ve come to ser this isn’t a smear, but a truism. We all pick and choose. The real issue to me is have we picked and chosen the right thing and why ? Do you see the difficulty of simply relying on the bible?

          • Martin

            The issues have certainly been settled, hence the church of Rome is not a Christian church.

          • Heretic.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Were you about to reveal your views there before you were cut off?

          • Cut off? Jack’s views are an open book.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I was expecting you to confess you were a heretic.

          • Not Happy Jack, Martin. He follows the Church established by Christ which cannot err in matters of faith and morals.

          • Martin

            You don’t follow the Church established by Christ you follow a schismatic church that long ago abandoned the Church for the powers of Man

          • Even Augustine didn’t manage this with predestination and yet some have constructed a church on his contradictory teachings.

          • Martin

            HJ

            The Church is based on the Bible, not the teachings of men.

        • “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints …”
          We’re all loved by God and called by the Holy Spirit – few make it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, we’re not all loved by God:

            “As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

            (Romans 9:13 [ESV]

          • Martin

            Happy Jack says: Yes, we are all loved by God.

            What a dark view you hold of God. He owes us nothing and He is not obligated to love anyone. However, he does love us all – not because of anything in us. He loves because He is Love.

            Tsk, tsk …. Jacob was preferred over Esau, not hated. It’s Jewish language. No comparative and superlative forms, you see. So they repeated words and made comparisons by using opposites. They also used hyperbole to make a point.

            Here’s an example from the New Testament.

            “If any man come to me, and HATE not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
            (Luke 14:26)
            Did Jesus literally mean – hate? Let’s see:

            ” He that LOVETH father or mother MORE THAN me is not worthy of me: and he that LOVETH son or daughter MORE THAN me is not worthy of me.”

          • Cressida de Nova

            I have always had a problem with this Luke verse. It smacks of the cruelty of the old testament rather than the new. Put it down to linguistics. A turn of phrase and semantics can alter the entire feeling mood and message of text. Poor translations are responsible for so many serious misunderstandings. Even your attempt Jack fails to convey the real meaning.

          • Martin

            Cressida

            There’s nothing cruel about the OT, the gospel, the means of salvation, is exactly the same in both.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Do not agree with you on this one Martin. The OT is a backdrop to the NT. There are many incidences of cruelty and violence in the OT. Jesus was always in conflict with the Pharisees and set about manifesting God’s law in a humane gentle and caring way.He came to save us and show us a new and better way of living and attaining salvation through the gospels (the Christian way) of the NT not (the Jewish way) of the OT.

          • Martin

            CdN

            The OT is the gradual unveiling of the gospel and the demonstration of the inability of Man to keep God’s law.

            Jesus took a whip to the traders in the temple and confronted sinners with their sin, His view on the law was the same as is found in the OT.

            Salvation in the NT is obtained in the same way as it was gained in the OT, by the mercy of God apart from any deeds of the flesh.

          • All it means is that we should place no loyalty above God. It is about the Hebrew language. The second quote is from Matthew and allows us to see what Jesus was saying as recorded by Luke. The OT has other examples of the word ‘hate’ being used with this meaning.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes it does mean that but the way it is expressed is unnecessarily hostile lacking nuance implying well it is either your parents or me..choose. ..which is completely unnecessary! The love one feels for parents or close ones is completely different to a relationship and connection to God.

          • See above …. responded to wrong post.

          • True about the language but Jesus’ audience at the time would have understood the meaning, being Jewish, and Matthew 10:37 is clearer about what He meant.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You may say that we are all loved of God but the Bible says otherwise.

            It tells us that God chooses some whom He will save. Now love means to want the best for someone, to care for them. Since God saves these people He clearly loves them.

            But what of those He doesn’t save, those rebels He consigns to an eternity of torment? Just as God loved Jacob & chose him, so He rejects Esau, hates him.

            If God loves us all He would save us all, it’s as simple as that.

          • “But what of those He doesn’t save, those rebels He consigns to an eternity of torment?

            Why do you call them “rebels” when, according to your take on scripture, they can act in no other way?

            “If God loves us all He would save us all, it’s as simple as that.”

            No, he offers salvation to all – gives us grace to respond but then we have to play our part. Why do you think human free will diminishes God in some way?

            And you never did respond to Jack’s earlier enquiry:

            “If God predetermined salvation and damnation before Creation, then no one can be led to Heaven or Hell. To argue so implies another relationship between grace, faith and justification. We have to respond to the grace offered by God to accept faith and, once embraced, then continue walking in the light to become more Christ-like.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            They are responsible for their actions and are therefore rebels. They are commanded to repent but never will unless God raises them from the dead, a state from which we cannot respond to God.

            Once God raises the sinner He gives them a new will so that their desire is to serve God. They are therefore justified and start on the path of sanctification.

          • Start?

          • Martin

            HJ

            That men have no will to repent does not alter the fact that it is their duty to. No one is predestined to Hell, Hell is where their sins drag them.

          • Come on, Martin, now you’re back-tracking.
            According to your view of predestination all is settled before creation by the mind of God, regardless of the individual. Yes? Therefore, God Wilfully withholds Grace from some and gifts it to others – regardless of the individual. Those people without Grace are without the means of responding to His commands and are damned before birth. They are not culpable for personal sin but remain under the curse of original sin.

          • Martin

            No, I’m not back tracking, only those saved are predestined, those unsaved are treated according to their sin.

            God doesn’t withhold anything, He gives salvation to those whom He chooses to save. Not on the basis of anything in themselves but only for His glory. They are no different to those who are not saved, yet God saves them and gives them a new will and faith.

            All mankind has the capability to respond, they simply will not because their will is enslaved. Original sin is not what brings them to hell, but it does give them a tendency to sin.

          • Backtracking again, Martin.

            “All mankind has the capability to respond, they simply will not because their will is enslaved.”
            This is a contradictory statement. If the will is enslaved because of Adam’s sin, then how can people be personally culpable?

            If we are completely dead in sin, then the only thing that can bring us to life is, as you say, the Grace of God. If He withholds sufficient Grace from the predestined damned, then there is no alternative but to sin because without Grace there is only totally depravity. No free will at all.

          • Martin

            No contradiction there, the will is enslaved because of the sinners sin, not Adam’s. That we will not respond does not remove from us the responsibility to obey.

            No one is predestined to be damned, they choose to sin and thereby choose to be condemned.

            Total depravity means that every area of their life is affected, not that they are as bad as they could be.

    • Longinus

      “The reason ‘pope’ Francis & ‘mother’ Theresa might say the same is simple, they don’t know the God of the Bible. They rely on ‘Tradition’ for their faith.”

      How do you KNOW this??
      “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Matt 7:1

      • Martin

        Longinus

        Because they are(were) clearly wedded to the theology of the church of Rome.

        • Well they would, wouldn’t they. What do you expect? Should they follow the man made theology of Calvin instead? Or Luther?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Calvin’s theology was the same as Augustine’s and the both got it from Paul. The church of Rome abandoned biblical theology a long time ago.

          • Augustine was a theologian, a Father of the Church. However, like others, his writing was not infallible or definitive. On this issue he was wrong – and he did contradict himself when he spoke of those released from original sin but who, in free will, desert God.

            Here’s what he wrote:

            “For not all who were called wanted to come to that dinner, which as the Lord says in the Gospel, was prepared, nor would those who came have been able to come if they had not been called. And so neither should they who came attribute [it] to themselves; for they came being called nor should those who were unwilling to come attribute [it] to anyone but themselves, for, in order that they might come, they were called in free will.

            So far as Happy Jack is concerned, your view of God is blasphemous.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of course no Christian is infallible. Doubtless Paul made mistakes as did Peter and many others. Calvin, of course, was a paedobaptist, something which detracts a lot from his perfection. The only sound source for theology is the Bible.

          • Peter and Paul made no mistakes when defining doctrine at the Council of Jerusalem. The Church is infallible in matters of faith – because they are acting directly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You must remember that Paul had to correct Peter in Antioch. Clearly neither the Church nor the church of Rome is in any way infallible but only God and His word.

          • Pope’s can be corrected. The Magisterium of the Church consists of the Bishops acting in unison with the Pope. God ensures the Church does not err in matters of dogma and doctrine.

          • Martin

            There is no magisterium, there is no hierarchy. All believers are equal in rank.

          • CliveM

            In so much Martin says I struggle to see God speaking. So much certainy, so little humility.

          • Martin

            Clive

            Why would be humble about what God clearly says?

          • Because you’re not infallible and can make mistakes?

          • Martin

            But God is infallible.

  • JayBee

    If we refuse to question our beliefs, whether they be religious or otherwise, the risk of fundamentalism increases dramatically.

    I think you’re on to something here Gillan. The behaviour of Islamic State in their blinkered fundamentalism makes dialogue with them impossible. But what about other forms of fundamentalist belief like global warming zealotry or the unshakable conviction that the universe evolved itself out of nowhere. Is it possible that instead of a doubting Thomas there might just occasionally be a doubting Dawkins. The existence of doubt may indicate many things, including an open mind perhaps.

  • len

    I firmly believe that our belief system shout be questioned even the Apostle Paul stated as much.Paul had a belief system which he thought was without error until he met the Lord Jesus Christ who revealed Truth to Paul.How many follow false religions because they do not question the integrity of those religions?.
    ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
    Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you
    fail the test?'(2 Corinthians 13;5)

  • Martin

    BTW That’s a terrible ‘worship song’, just poor quality pop music. There seems to be a misapprehension that singing is worship and everything else is something else. The Christians true worship is in listening to God’s word and applying it to our hearts.

    • Martin, i thought it was quite a good song myself. A good jolly tune, i’m not even a christian;)

      • Martin

        David

        I wouldn’t expect a non Christian to understand the point. And that is probably the reason so many churches are quite happy with such songs.

    • Hi Martin,

      I think the song is fab actually(:

      • Martin

        Hannah

        Is fab a word you should be using of a song that purports to be worshipping God? I leave you to consider whether you’ve actually proven my point.

        • Hi Martin,

          Yep!! Fab as in fabulous!! God is fab, God is fabulous!

          • Martin

            Hannah

            I’d have said that God was far from fabulous and in fact very real. 😉

          • Hi Martin,

            Of course God is really real!

          • Nick

            I think the praise word ‘fab’ has been accepted as genuine praise by God for a little while now. I did once get rebuked by someone for writing a poem in which I called God a ‘heavenly fantasist’. In context I was just saying that he was like a good fantasy writer but unfortunately I may have been being a bit naive…

          • Martin

            Nick

            There are all sorts of things than men accept that are offensive to God.

          • Nick

            Hi Martin,

            And also a whole host of things which men disapprove of which are not offensive to God.

          • Martin

            Nick

            Indeed, and that is one of the hard things about becoming a Christian, our values must change.

  • First, it is good to see the new blog up and running, best of british for it! As for welby, i think a lot of people are underestimating him. And if he admits to the occasional doubts, then he is just proving he is a human being like the rest of us.

  • Happy Jack says we all have doubts from time to time but nevertheless soldier on in our faith.

    Catholics use the expression “Dark night of the Soul” for these times of spiritual crisis in our journey for union with God. Saint John of the Cross describes it. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux once told her nuns, “If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into.” Saint Paul of the Cross’ “darkness” lasted 45 years. Mother Teresa of Calcutta “darkness” reportedly lasted from 1948 almost up until her death in 1997.

    The key is these men and women kept going and, when then emerged from their times of trial, their faith was stronger for it and their actions manifested the love of God for others.

    • CliveM

      “Catholics use the expression “Dark night of the Soul”

      I love that description. It sums it up perfectly. I had previously heard it used. Very powerful.

  • Tim Wills

    The problem with his comments are not that he questions the proximity of God, but that he questions “whether he’s there” i.e. at all. In addition to the matey irreverence of “isn’t it about time”, it betrays an utter ignorance of who God is and who a wee man is. Sadly, given the state of the CofE, not surprising in the least.

  • Hello. Justin Welby has irritatingly and inconsiderately said absolutely nothing wrong here. I’m not trying to defend him – God knows enough people are doing that as he is still in his honeymoon period. But maybe he is playing things too safe?

  • CliveM

    Can any of us say we never doubt? As the blog suggests in many ways this is a non story which throws more light on the way the media operates and reports thing, then it does about Welby.

    Never trust a man who says he has no doubts. IS is full of such people and look where it can lead.

    • Clive – an enigmatic avatar. Jack sees you’re wearing a hat too. Very good.

      You are right. It is men fronting up their doubts with extremism and vain pride that are the real danger – not those seeking the truth in humility and honesty.

      (Ps, it’s not good form ‘up-voting’ your own comment. *chuckle*)

      • CliveM

        One of the risks of a touch screen smart phone. Can’t work out how to cancel.

        Damn embarrassing!!

        • Hi Martin,

          Click on the up vote box again and it should disappear.

          • CliveM

            Hi Hannah

            Thanks, it worked (I think!) I had worried if I did that it would up vote twice and would come across as a complete egomaniac!

          • Lol ….

        • Just push the down arrow. Jack has done it himself. *chuckle*

      • CliveM

        Do you like it? Still a bit unsure.

        • It’s whether you like it that counts. Is the chap skating on mist? He does look rather elegant in his evening dress and top hat.

          • Martin

            Seem to recall it is a picture of a Scots minister.

          • Skating on thin ice, then.

          • CliveM

            As always! I have that in common with him!!

        • Hi Clive,

          For some reason it reminds me of the great intelligence from doctor who, Richard e Grant version….

        • Ps, I’d put a picture on, but for some reason that facility isn’t available on this format of discus.

          • CliveM

            Sadly I am a bit of a Doctor Who geek so don’t worry I know what you mean without the picture!

            I hadn’t thought of it myself however.

          • Hi Clive,

            Cool! I’m a doctor who geek too and I have a dedicated sci first blog (:

          • CliveM

            Probably I shouldn’t say this here, so one off only. First TV memory, the Tardis blowing up in the Mind Robber! I will look for your blog.

          • Hi Clive, well I’ve got that on DVD: always liked Patrick Troughton and of course he did have the highlander Jamie Mccrimon for company, plus the cybermen were more scary in the tomb of the cybermen… my favourite was Jon pertwee, although my favourite villain was the meddling monk from who 1 (Peter Butterworth). (:

          • CliveM

            Can’t find your sci if blog?

        • Cressida de Nova

          I love it. Tres bizarre. You will fit in well on this blog.

          • CliveM

            Why thank you!

  • Shadrach Fire

    I don’t see these quotes as doubts. They are conversations with a God from whom there is no answer at that time. If one doubted God, why would you talk to him.

    These are cries of despair because we have not heard from him, they are pleadings.

    As Jesus cried from the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

    No denial of God here, just the same feeling of abandonment that we all feel at times and just as Jesus knew, he was fulfilling God’s purpose. A lack of apparent activity is no indication that nothing is happening, it’s just not happening for you at that moment.
    Job felt that God had abandoned him but never doubted that there was a God.

    • I don’t think Justin Welby is really doubting God’s existence. It’s more a case of ‘Where are you God? I can’t see you in all of this’ rather than anything more cataclysmic.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Agree

    • DanJ0

      “If one doubted God, why would you talk to him.”
      Actually, I have a chat now and again, and I’m an a-theist. I do it in the manner of Mr God, This Is Anna. It’s an ongoing experiment.

      • The Inspector General

        You clown :->

  • Van
    Morrison
    wrote a song on this theme too.

    Let me
    contemplate the presence so divine
    Let me sing all day and never get tired
    Fill me up from your loving cup
    Give me my rapture

    Wont you guide me through the dark night of the soul
    That I may better understand your way
    Let me be just and worthy to receive
    All the blessings of the lord into my life

    Let me purify my thoughts and words and deeds
    That I may be a vehicle for thee
    Let me hold to the truth in the darkest hour
    Let me sing to the glory of the Lord, give me my rapture today

    • Hi happy Jack,

      There’s a film starring Nick Cage coming out about the rapture, not my cup of tea of course.

  • IanCad

    As Christians we must all struggle through those nights of doubt and sorrows.

    Even with unshaken faith despair will overcome us for a while.

    Christ at the ninth hour quoted from Psalm 22.

    Is any more to be expected from us?

    Sometimes darkness and demons will overwhelm us, but behind the scenes, when we are weak; He is strong.

    Interesting segue there Gillan, from the valid questioning of our beliefs, into the direct opposite:

    Our politicians cannot do so. All claim to hold unwavering principles (Reigion??) that to stray from would admit to their inerrancy, a failing that the congregation – and fellow priests – would hold as a mortal sin.

    Humility would be more acceptable than any hint of vulnerability.

    Dosen’t come along very often. Bill Clinton came close.

    Septimus Winner address the thread perfectly in his gospel song -” Whispering Hope.”

  • SidneyDeane

    It seems that parhaps surpringly that occasionally Welby’s long-suppressed rational mind is able to push through for quick glimpses to tell Welby the obvious truth – that there is nothing there – only for it to be then again shrouded by an overwhelming childlike necessity to “believe” that death is not the end and that little Justin will not disappear into oblivion but will be reunited with his parents in heaven for ever and ever and ever and ever. And ever.
    It really is pathetic.

    Welby’s comments show just how incredibly weak and fragile religious belief is. Theres simply nothing substantive to draw on. I don’t think many pilots have nagging doubts about the principle of aerodynamic lift, nor many biologists about the theory of evolution…

    • Ah, but Jack bets atheists have doubts about the reality and existence of God too. Who’s really kidding who here? To resist the Holy Spirit takes great stubbornness and tenacity – even more than faith. And He never gives up, you know. Not until you draw your last breath.

      • DanJ0

        I am sorry to report to the community a complete absence of this phenomenon, hence it has been no effort at all for me to resist it. Quite literally no effort. As I have said a number of times in the past, I invite an intervention of this sort in my life. Please, god, do a Paul of Tarsus on me if you exist and have those godly attributes in that story. Whenever you are ready. But preferably not when I’m behind the steering wheel of my car on the A6.

        • You mustn’t be so impatient, Danjo.
          Give the Holy Spirit time. You’ll know when He’s ready.

          • Danjo, plenty of people who would firmly consider themselves Christians
            have personal experience of the “dark night of the soul” when it feels
            like prayer is a futile screaming into the darkness at a God who at best
            is not listening, and at worst is not there are all. When one looks
            back at times when one was certain of faith, and doubts even the
            greatest certainties.

            From personal experience it is something
            that can last a frightening length of time, and all I can say, again
            from experience, is that it ends. Like any night. Morning comes, but
            not till you’ve gone through the night without a candle or a clock.

        • If you can laugh about it, Danjo, then Jack would say you’re probably nearer to God than you think. He has a sense of humour too, you know.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Atheists do not have doubts. Read “The Psychopath Inside” A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey Into The Dark Side Of The Brain – James Fallon. It explains how atheists think. Interesting read…lots of them around…

        • Martin

          Everyone, including Atheists, knows God exists. Hence there are no true Atheists, we just call them that because they’d object to the biblical word.

    • Hi Sidney,

      That doesn’t exactly explain why people of faith have chosen to be killed for their beliefs, rather than give them up…. it would be more rational to do so, if faced with such a situation.

      • SidneyDeane

        I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean. I don’t understand how your response connects to my post. Please can you clarify?

        • Hi Sidney,

          I was referring to the last paragraph of your post. If there is nothing substantive about faith or it is weak and fragile, then it doesn’t totally explain why people have in the past been prepared to die for that faith ( of whatever religion).

          • SidneyDeane

            By “nothing substantive to draw on”, im talking about the entire lack of verifiable objective evidence. That people are prepared to die for the faith doesn’t alter that fact. I agree it does illustrate faith’s immense power of deluding people and making them act irrationally.

            Faith of course being what is currently driving IS. And you other believers give their position credibility by showing them that its ok to base your actions around something which has no rational basis. That it’s ok not to listen to reason.

            So thanks for that everyone.

          • Hi Sidney,

            With respect you are all over the place: one minute faith is fragile and weak, the next it is one and the same with IS! Which is it? Also you are wrong. I give no credibility to IS, as you are forgetting that they wish to exterminate every Jew from this earth, if you actually read what I said I said being prepared to die for one’s faith, in my case kiddush hashem – allowed in only 3 , just 3 circumstances- and not to kill indiscriminately for one’s faith. That’s the difference between me and most people of faith and IS.

          • SidneyDeane

            Hmm. I think what you need to do is go back, read again and try and understand.

          • Hi Sidney,

            Understand what exactly? If you were a bit clearer, then I’d not need to re read your posts, now would I? What is it I’m supposed to understand ? Enlighten me. You see if you were a bit less dismissive and condescending about religion all told, we could have an intelligent discussion about it and it’s role in society (:

    • carl jacobs

      Careful Sydney. Your faith system is showing.

      carl

    • The Inspector General

      Sid. …only for it to be then again shrouded by an overwhelming childlike necessity to “believe” that death is not the end…

      Curious line of thought you have there. Rather of the same school that holds anyone who doesn’t think much of militant gays fashioning the world to their requirements is so obviously a closet case.

  • Last Sermon from Happy Jack for today.
    *chuckle*

    Footprints in the Sand
    (by Margaret Fishback Powers)

    One night I dreamed a dream.
    As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
    Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
    For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
    One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

    After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
    I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
    I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
    especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
    there was only one set of footprints.

    This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
    “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
    You’d walk with me all the way.
    But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
    there was only one set of footprints.
    I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

    He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
    Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
    When you saw only one set of footprints,
    It was then that I carried you.”

  • carl jacobs

    If we refuse to question our beliefs, whether they be religious or otherwise, the risk of fundamentalism increases dramatically. There is a reason why the religious right in the US is treated with such scepticism over here

    It’s hard to overstate the massive error that is at the heart of this thought. It finds its origin in viewing people only through the lens provided by a secular (and very hostile) media, I suspect. But who ever told the author that members of the ‘Religious Right’ were thoughtless unquestioning drones? It’s a crass stereotype.

    The Religious Right was a reaction to the relentless establishment of modernity (and its concomitant worship of self) as the basis of law. It massively misread the trajectory of popular attitudes toward morality by assuming that nominal Christianity had much deeper roots than in fact it did. It hopelessly conflated Conservative politics in the US with the Gospel. It’s fundamental flaw was to assume that Christian culture could be re-established by law. It did not recognize that the culture had abandoned the Christian faith and law must inevitably follow culture. In the end, its only real accomplishment was to reveal the heart of a nation.

    This modern fascination with the efficacy of doubt is interesting. It does not seem to be rooted in a recognition of man as finite and limited, but rather in the idea that truth itself is fundamentally unknowable. Because (after all) if men can’t really know truth, then men really can’t be held to account. And that was the heresy of the Religious Right in modern eyes – that it believed in the existence of knowable truth and was willing to act upon it despite all the individual doubts and fears and limitations.

    The Religious Right was a failure because it sought to replace evangelism with politics. It was not a failure because it actually believed in something beyond man himself.

    carl

    • The one true Church door is ajar, Carl.

      • carl jacobs

        No, wait. Don’t tell me. I know this. The one true Church is … No, really. I just read this yesterday. If you’ll just give me a minute, it will come to me.

      • carl jacobs

        I’ll take “The One True Church” for $200 Alex.

        The Pope leads this, the One True Church.

        What is Rastafarianism?

        No, I’m sorry. The Roman Catholic Church.

        • Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen noted:

          “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

          G. K. Chesterton wrote:

          “The moment a man ceases to pull against [the Catholic Church] he feels a tug towards it. The moment he ceases to shout it down he begins to listen to it with pleasure. The moment he begins to be fair to it he begins to be fond of it.”

  • carl jacobs

    The song is … forgettable. It’s not so much bad as mediocre. I have certainly heard much worse worship songs. At least it isn’t a repetitive collection of navel gazing. But there really isn’t much ‘there’ there. To say this song is a well-crafted piece of artwork is wrong. The lyrics are wooden. The melody is moderately acceptable. There is nothing in it that grabs the soul.

    So much of Christian art seems content to worship God without worshipping God well.

    carl

    • Carl, are you hankering after some old Gregorian Chant? There’s none better, you know.
      *chuckle*

      • Hi happy Jack

        And a good rendering of the kiddush (:

        • Indeed, Hannah. Then, once the soul is nourished, the body can be refreshed too

          • Hi happy Jack,

            Well us Jews, we pour wine, give prayer and praise to God and drink together; then we give prayer praise to God over the challah (bread) and eat it together as a reminder of the manna from heaven.

          • Hannah, Happy Jack has seen through all that. Its a feminist plot by Jewish women to control men via one of their two most pressing priorities.

          • Uncle Brian

            What, already? Another year gone? That was quick. Shanah tovah and best wishes for 5775!

          • Thanks uncle Brian! I have my Apple and honey ready. Just got to work out what to prepare for food. I’m probably going to do both a bit of Ashkenazi and Sephardic.

  • CliveM

    Martin,

    “Of course, for a believer, all things work for their good so whatever tragedies occur they do so under the hand of their loving God and are to be welcomed.”

    Just so I am not being unfair, you weren’t actually referring to the death of a child here were you?

    • Suffering is a path to God, Clive.

      Happy Jack was very lukewarm until he faced a deep personal tragedy some 20 years ago and the words of this hymn pierced him.

      Be still and know I am with you.
      Be still, I am the Lord.
      I will not leave you orphans.
      I leave with you my world.
      Be one.

      You fear the light may be fading.
      You fear to lose your way.
      Be still, and know I am near you.
      I’ll lead you to the day,
      and the sun.

      Be glad the day you have sorrow.
      Be glad, for then you live.
      The stars shine only in darkness,
      and in your need.
      I give my peace.

      • Dreadnaught

        Suffering is a path to God, Clive.

        That’s why Mother Theresa did sod all medically other than keep the surrounding pavements of her ‘hospice’ marginally free of corpses while jetting round the world with her begging bowl for Rome.

        • Oh why, oh why, isn’t there a down button ?!

          • CliveM

            No idea, would be useful!

      • CliveM

        Happy Jack

        I understand the point you are making, unfortunately suffering is part of this fallen world but fortunately even when things are at the blackest God is there and God can use the suffering.

        I was just a bit concerned that some might mis-read Martins comments as suggesting a true Christian would ‘welcome’ the suffering entailed in losing a child. I am sure I am doing him a mis-service and it is I who mis-understand what he said.

    • Martin

      Would the death of one’s child not happen under the hand of a loving God if you were a believer?

      No I wasn’t referring specifically to that.

  • Dreadnaught

    Belief in something that cannot be proved or disproved is a
    great comfort to the human condition. Some need it to be spelled out by others
    before they believe it for themselves, which is fine. However, for the majority of humanity, life is
    experienced in the day to day struggle to survive. When human endeavours alone are
    insufficient to sustain life no one blames God but when a person intercedes on
    behalf of another’s dilemma, God gets the credit. To an atheist, two hands directed by the
    logic of reciprocity and doing ‘something’ is always more liable to achieve more than any infinite
    number of hands clasped in prayer doing nothing, other than make the pray-ers feel that they are actually doing something. Yet atheists are held by theists to have no moral authority which is not fine, just plainly duff Psycology.

    On an after-thought, I have not heard anyone yet claim that God has sent the Ebola virus a punishment for some form of minor transgression as they allege He did with AIDS, neither for that matter has the situation of Christians in Mosul been improved by all the praying that’s allegedly been going on.

  • The Inspector General

    The Inspector finds it rather easy to believe in God. He has
    on his desk an executive toy. It’s a magnet shaped like a bar of that ‘Imperial
    Leather’ soap. On it are stamped stainless steel silhouettes of naked people,
    about three quarters of an inch long, in the old money. You construct a tower
    using the magnetised people. It’s great fun, and absolutely essential for those
    ‘long’ phone calls occasionally received.

    The point is this, magnetism is tangible evidence of a higher
    power than us. The atheists will tell you that it’s no evidence of a god or
    supreme being and that magnetism just is, it’s there. Which of course is a great
    definition of God in itself. Besides, one disagrees with that ‘enlightened’
    crowd, and says it is exactly what you would expect from a supreme being who has
    arranged the construction of this planet in a vast mainly nothingness of a
    universe.

    Part of the construction complex is the gift of electricity.
    No magnetism, no electricity. We could live without electricity and did, but it
    wasn’t very nice, and we really weren’t going anywhere much without it, we’re we
    ? All part of the plan then.

    Now, believing in man and what he has constructed to hide
    behind in his arrogant rejection of the sheer brilliance of God, that’s the
    difficult bit. But one does suspect God wouldn’t have it any other way lest we
    fail to amuse and delight in our pathetic earthly doings, so let us drop the
    guilt associated with living, eh ?

    • IanCad

      It is the most fun to ask a brilliant, superior physicist how a magnet works.
      Never met one yet who says he hasn’t the foggiest.

      • bert 76543

        They probably didn’t want to get into a lengthy explanation of the cause, exchange interaction. See
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exchange_interaction
        Happy reading.

        • IanCad

          Read your link Bert; There is a lot of scientific – dare I say it? Speculation?!
          However, my remark was hasty and insulting to the boffin community and I withdraw my comment.
          Regards,
          Ian.

      • The Inspector General

        Similar with where the water for the oceans arrived from. On the backs of meteorites, so they say. Rather far fetched but there you are…

    • Matt A

      Magnetic stainless steel?

      • The Inspector General

        Must be the massive iron content of said material…

    • Hi inspector,

      You know, putting aside your homophobia , racial views and sexism, I do , just for a very brief nanosecond see that you seem to be getting Jewish in hashkafa (philosophical perspective) , so I hope these ponderings help you with haskalah (enlightenment) (:

      • “You know, putting aside your homophobia , racial views and sexism ….. you seem to be getting Jewish in hashkafa (philosophical perspective …”

        Lol …. he’s available on a free transfer, Hannah.

        • Hi happy Jack,

          Well if inspector wants to convert, he’d be quite welcome I’m sure… But I think he seems quite happy to be a devout Roman Catholic (:

          • Bad girl.

          • Cressida de Nova

            A small surgical procedure may be necessary for the inspector to convert to Judaism. A stint in Jewry could indeed make him a changed man.

  • carl jacobs

    Atheism is so obviously rooted in the will to disbelieve. To observe the material universe in which we live and say “All this formed itself” is the most fantastically self-deceptive comment a man can make. It is not made from a ruthless pursuit of truth. It is made in a ruthless quest for moral freedom. It is the essential nature of fallen man demanding to be like God.

    carl

    • IanCad

      Wonderful comment Carl.
      Brevity is the soul of blogging.

    • Martin

      Carl

      As the Bible says:

      The fool says in his heart, There is no God.
      They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
      there is none who does good.
      (Psalms 14:1 [ESV])

      and

      The fool says in his heart, There is no God.
      They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
      there is none who does good.
      (Psalms 53:1 [ESV]

  • DanJ0

    Article: “This says far more about a lack of appreciation of the nature of faith by those reporting his words than it does about Justin Welby himself.”

    It probably does. I’m fairly frequently told by Christians that their relationship with their god is like having someone in the same room with them. Some say they have actual dialogues. Some that answers to their questions or statements are through their feelings. Some say they just know their god is there, and that their knowledge of its presence is unmistakable. Yet even the AofC of all people says stuff like that, which is pretty hard to mistake or misunderstand. It seems to me that the nature of faith is, more likely, merely a hope that their god is there, coupled with the peace of mind that the hope probably brings. Something learned, for many people, but valuable in itself. But who am I to question subjective experience too deeply? It just seems to me that if I knew a god existed, rather than hoped, then I’d never ‘sin’ again. Afterall, given that the very particles of our reality are apparently sustained moment by moment by this god, and our consciousness is somehow floating around as some other sort of thing yet still accessible by god, then one can hardly duck the fact before, during, and after the ‘sin’. In which case, how can anyone who truly believes, actually do it? Curious.

    • CliveM

      In a word – hormones!!

      • A lot more than hormones, Clive.

        • CliveM

          Yes probably, but I have seen a lot of issues/problems/sin wrought by over active hormones. It’s a mundane answer, but with a lot of truth in it I think.

          Anyway I don’t think any of us have answered DanJo’s question. It’s not why we sin, or our awareness of sin, but why do we sin when we claim to feel or know God?

          Partly it’s our nature to be more aware of the immediate and that helps us to temporarily shield ourselves from the eternal. But it is a good question DanJo and ultimately I believe it is our fallen nature that helps us block out God. But he always finds his way back in again.

          I would imagine we have all done things knowing whilst doing the it was wrong, it is why we need Gods grace and mercy.

    • It’s human nature. This doesn’t miraculously change because of faith in God. It has to be overcome and its a daily struggle. That’s what all the references in the bible about the flesh being at war with the spirit is about.

    • Uncle Brian

      DanJo
      For what it’s worth, not all sins are held to be equally bad. Even among the seven deadly sins, some rank as more grievous than others. The theologians who have dealt with the subject are by no means in full agreement on the ranking, but pride usually tops the list as the worst of all, followed by envy and wrath. In contrast, avarice, greed and lust are usually said to be the mildest, though not necessarily in that order, with sloth somewhere in the middle.

      • Brian

        Remember, there’re all ‘mortal’, in that they remove Grace from the soul and break our relationship with Christ. They also converge and grow deadlier. One might, and often does, lead to another. In time, left unchecked, they consume us and we turn ‘wrong’ into ‘right’.

        Frightening, very real, and talked about so infrequently in these ‘modern’ and ‘enlightened’ days of ours.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Where does the Bible talk of ‘mortal’ sins?

          • Common sense, Martin, which you seem to lack. Is stealing a biscuit the same as mass murder? The Bible refers to greater or lesser sin:

            “. . . he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
            (John 19:11)

            “He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask: and life shall be given to him who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death (i.e. mortal). For that I say not that any man ask. All iniquity is sin. And there is a sin unto death. “
            (1 John 5:16-17)

            The Bible also refers to grievous sins which, if not repented, will lead to Hell:

            1 Cor. 6:9-10;
            Gal. 1:8;
            Eph. 5:5;
            Heb. 12:16;
            Rev. 22:15.

            And just where in the Bible does it say that everything is in the Bible? Christianity existed before it was written down and was taught by the Church.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Stealing a biscuit? It was stealing the fruit that landed us in this mess in the first place. The sin is merely the outward expression of the heart. It has been said that slander is as bad as murder for it seeks to destroy the man’s character.

            Remember, to look on your neighbours property with desire is as bad as stealing it, on a woman is adultery. It isn’t the act that is the problem but the heart.

      • Martin

        Brian

        Where in the Bible does it say not all sins are equally bad?

        • Uncle Brian

          John 19:11. Jesus tells Pilate, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”

          Where there is a “greater sin”, clearly there must also be a lesser sin, right?

          • Martin

            That’s pretty desperate. The fact is, sin is against God, not your fellow man and is an act of rebellion, hence is destructive to the soul. Adam merely ate the fruit his wife gave him yet he destroyed the whole of Creation.

          • Uncle Brian

            Martin

            You are perfectly correct in stating that sin is against God. I have no doubt that all three of us ― you, me and Jesus, not to mention the Roman Catholic Church* ― are in full agreement on that point. So what is your quibble now? When Jesus told Pilate that someone else was committing “the greater sin”, are you suggesting he didn’t mean what he said?

            *Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1850, which you
            can read here:

            http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6A.HTM

          • Martin

            I’m saying he didn’t mean what you think He meant.

          • Uncle Brian

            Jesus spoke very plainly. Two sins are being committed, one by Pilate himself and the other by an unnamed third person “that delivered me unto thee”, and one of the sins is greater than the other. That’s it, Martin, No two ways about it. Take it or leave it.

    • G.K. Chesterton had this to say:

      “The great strength of Christian sanctity has always been simply this – that the worst enemies of the saints could not say of the saints anything worse than [the saints] said of themselves…Suppose the village atheist had a sudden and splendid impulse to rush into the village church and denounce everybody there as miserable offenders. He might break in at the exact moment when they were saying the same thing themselves.”

      • dannybhoy

        I love the fact that at least Peter tried to.
        He didn’t wait for a ‘faculty’ of approval first…

  • Nick

    Hello all. Without wanting to defend the archbish too much – at least he seems to believe a bit. I’m not sure all church leaders really do. Naming no names.

    • dannybhoy

      Lol
      You gotta be an Anglican..

  • DanJ0

    I noted yesterday evening that the small flock of doves, which has started to recover this summer after being decimated over the New Year with trichomoniasis, has been infected again. The parasite trichomonas gallinae basically causes lesions in the throats of the birds, which results in them slowly starving to death. It’s a pretty unpleasant thing to watch as it’s almost impossible to intervene with wild birds.
    Why am I pointing this out here? Well, the parasite is not really in the same league as the infamous eye-ball eating worms but I find it no trouble at all to imagine that life has evolved, and continues to evolve, from very little in an undirected fashion.
    There’s no self-deception there at all. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I think anyone who thinks our reality just popped into existence by divine will and that those parasites have been designed by a benevolent god are, at best, a bit bonkers. In fact, one would probably have to be a bit evil, I reckon, to lump that sort of stuff into some sort of divine plan predicated on goodness.

    • Here’s what the Catechism says:

      “But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection.

      In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.”

    • The Inspector General

      Yet parasites are themselves life, trying to make a living along with the higher forms.

    • dannybhoy

      “I’d go as far to say that I think anyone who thinks our reality just
      popped into existence by divine will and that those parasites have been
      designed by a benevolent god are, at best, a bit bonkers.”

      That illustrates a point that some of us pro Creationists have no answer for. Why would the Almighty create or design life forms which apparently do really nasty things in order to survive?
      I don’t know. It certainly bothers me, yet like other anomalies I am content to hang it on a hook awaiting an answer.
      That’s because I still find the concept of a Supreme Being who has always existed, is outside of space and time and yet interacts within time and space makes the most sense of who I am and the world I live in.
      That this Supreme Being reveals His moral character through the Scriptures, that He loves humankind so much that He took the form of man and lived amongst us, dying on the Cross so that we might not only be reconciled to God but be transformed through the work of the Holy Spirit is enough for me to place my confidence in Him..
      Is that subjective thinking?
      Yes, but no more so than that employed by non believers who perhaps use their faith in chaos and meaninglessness to justify what they do.. 🙂

      • DanJ0

        Luckily there are plenty of us who are really quite nice, and for whom ultimate meaningless is well and truly trumped by local meaning.

        • carl jacobs

          Assuming of course you have the money and leisure to purchase ‘local meaning.’. And nothing happens in your life that would annihilate ‘local meaning.’ Yes, if you were rich and comfortable, this could appear to work.

          For a while.

          carl

          • DanJ0

            Personally, I prefer it to your mere hoping that there is universal meaning to make yourself feel marginally better if there’s a crisis in your life, or to the universal meaning some Islamists hope is there when they crucify people like you who are unfortunate to live in a shitty region of the world. It’s a matter of having the strength to face reality, you see, come what may. Still, whatever floats your personal boat.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s easy to be fashionably sanguine about the endless night of despair so long as its talons aren’t ripping at your throat. The comfortable can afford the abstract thought about ‘facing reality.’ As I have said before, the viability of your worldview is entirely dependent upon never coming face to face with its implications.

            carl

          • And, if we’re fortunate, it comes at some point in our short lives.

          • DanJ0

            Yours is just an opinion, as we both know. It has no more validity than that of a disgruntled suicide murderer dressed in a bomb, hoping for a short cut to heaven, or a Hindu living in poverty hoping that his next turn on the cosmic wheel of life is a better one. In effect, you’re merely advocating a personal comfort blanket in case one suffers difficult times; a grand self-deception which you hope, but may ultimately fail in the end, to maintain in the face of adversity. In fact, you say it so often to me, along with your personal desire for some sort of moral absolutism, that to my eyes it has a hint of desperation about it: “For feck’sake feel some despair, because I would myself if I didn’t have my blankie with me!” Well, no. Your particular flavour of your religion looks pretty dark and bleak to me from your presentation of it here, and I wouldn’t want to unnecessarily burden myself with that sort of gross self-deception. That’s on top of the fact that it looks quite bonkers in the detail, as though mainstream Christianity itself wasn’t odd enough. But please, feel free to hold onto your beliefs like a buoyancy aid if it helps you get through your day, just try to remember that some of us can swim pretty well without one, even in choppy seas.

          • The “hint of desperation” that Jack reads isn’t in Carl’s posts.

          • DanJ0

            Of course you think that. :rolleyes:

          • dannybhoy

            DanJ0
            I don’t think Christians believe they are to be spared the vicissitudes of life or believe in order to escape reality.
            The cause and effect composition of our world means that we experience natural disasters, the fear and greed of man means that we commit acts of evil upon each other, stealing land, resources and war, genocide or enslavement.
            A Christian believes there is purpose and meaning because Jesus says there is.

          • DanJ0

            Quite clearly Christians don’t believe that. The fact of whole families being shot in the face for being Christians by other religionists who hope for a different universal meaning rather rams that home. So you’re welcome to your groundless hopes as far as I am concerned, if you’re so inclined.

            I’m at a bit of a loss why our Mr Jacobs bothers arguing the point with me. He’s no hope of convincing me that his opinion about the nature of our reality is valid, and other Christians already hold some variant of his beliefs, albeit not the more absurd aspects, so he won’t be swaying those.

            No, the best he could hope for is that some silent readers will be swayed by his sales pitch, perhaps being a step in their inevitably becoming one of the Elect of his worldview. But I doubt it’s even that, myself.

            Afterall, what’s he actually selling? That having a shitty time might be a bit more bearable if one clings sufficiently to a belief that one’s life and suffering has universal meaning, even if it’s not actually the truth in reality. It’s hardly a winner, is it?

            What seems much more likely to me is that he’s projecting his potential for despair onto others, even when they don’t have his sort of personality and needs, and that he’s trying to justify to himself that his beliefs are better than recognising a probable lack of cosmic meaning for one Mr Jacobs.

            Or perhaps he’s just making a pitch for some religious hegemony in our respective societies, on the basis some vulnerable people might be happier with a religious comfort blanket, and that his version of moral absolutism might help control people better with threats than appealing to and promoting the better side of our human nature? But there’s something fundamentally dishonest and slightly sinister in that.

          • dannybhoy

            I can’t buy your cynicism, however realistic you think it is!

          • What a nasty comment.

        • dannybhoy

          The world has not advanced through the best efforts of nice people who have settled for “local meaning.”
          Rather it has been great men and women who have lifted their heads to behold the stars, who have dreamed, questioned, investigated and sacrificed for a belief or principle.
          Those who settle for “local meaning” are destined to be manipulated and tossed about by any passing breeze, to be victims of totalitarianism or dictators; to be the faceless ones of George Orwell’s 1984.. 😉
          Let’s give thanks for those who occasionally lift up their eyes from the grazing fields to be inspired by God.

      • Martin

        Creationists have no problem answering that, as you would know with a little research.

        The Bible tells us that when Adam sinned the whole of Creation was cursed with him. Those things that God had called very good started to go bad, they started to produce sickness and death. Hence the parasites & eyeball eating worms.

        • dannybhoy

          Martin
          thanks for the response.

          Genesis 3…

          “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the
          tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’“Cursed is the ground because of you;
          through painful toil you will eat food from it
          all the days of your life.
          18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
          and you will eat the plants of the field.
          19 By the sweat of your brow
          you will eat your food
          until you return to the ground,
          since from it you were taken;
          for dust you are
          and to dust you will return.”
          It is interesting that weeds for example are incredibly prolific, resilient and flourish anywhere!

          I am not sure however, that horrible life forms laying their eggs inside animal body parts is evidence of this corrupting and decaying process as a result of the Fall.
          I do believe in the Fall and the creation of Adam as a special act of Creation and I also accept the findings of paleontology; although how the two things fit together I don’t know.

          I don’t agree with the mental gymnastic attempts to make it all fit together (The God of the Gaps, deliberately planted fossils designed to test our faith etc…) I think it is more honest to admit that we don’t know the answers.

          • Martin

            DB

            Remember, Palaeontologists interpret what they see, some see millions of years and some the result of the Flood.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed. My caveat is that it doesn’t negate the evidence of various human “types” such as Neanderthal man that we know existed. We also know that the dinosaurs existed. So the difficulty is fitting all these things into a cohesive and plausible programme of events.
            Some people for example believe that there were two epochs involving Creation. Here’s a couple of examples..

            http://www.ucg.org/booklet/creation-or-evolution-does-it-really-matter-what-you-believe/world-man-biblical-explanation/

            http://www.kjvbible.org/gap_theory.html
            I include them to illustrate how good Bible believing people go to extraordinary lengths to try to make sense of what the Bible teaches and what paleontology has found.
            We can’t write off the findings of professional scientists who research our past, nor can we doubt that all of them lack integrity.
            What we can agree on is the interpretation of the findings, but we are still left with various anomalies and gaps in our understanding.

          • Martin

            DB

            Neanderthal is as modern as we are. Indeed, if you look at the well known picture of Darwin in old age you will see a number of Neanderthal features.

            As for dinos the presumption is that the fossil record represents a period of thousands of millions of years. This is implausible, since the rocks have features that indicate only a short period between each layer and the fossils require a vast amount of sediment to be deposited in a short time. A simpler & more plausible explanation involves the Genesis flood recorded in the Bible.

            We must remember that the majority of these scientists deny God despite knowing that God exists, Romans 1:18-21, hence they are already dishonest in their attitude to the past. The sinner will find any excuse to deny that God exists.

          • dannybhoy

            “Indeed, if you look at the well known picture of Darwin in old age you will see a number of Neanderthal features.”

            Naughty. 🙂
            I think deep in our hearts remains the desire to go our own way. We look to construct our own world, our own set of values and we end up making a mess of it all.

            It was the grace of God which convicted me of sin and showed me my need of the Saviour.

  • Phil Taylor

    Dammit Gillan! You’ve gone and made me spend nearly £30 getting the other 3 Rend Collective albums I didn’t have!
    Excellent article, with the well made point that doubt is pretty much intrinsic to faith. Faith cannot be without doubt, otherwise it is not faith.
    Had my weirdest moment of doubt right in the middle of preaching. Can’t remember what I was preaching on or how the doubt came, but the thought “Is there really a God?” popped into my head all of a sudden. Needless to say it was swiftly swatted aside, but I would be very surprised if all church leaders didn’t have a similar situation happen to them at least once in their time as a leader.

  • Philip Lishman

    I think perhaps DanJ0 needs to answer the question: ‘Why am I here?’. I don’t mean the great existential question, but why post on this blog? What is he trying to achieve? He will not change us.

    It strikes me he is questing – and fears he is in the grip of sin. Well, Dan, I’ve got news for you. We all are. And we’re alike in that we are hoping it will be forgiven.

    Evolution does not deny God – no science does. God is why, science is how.

    For example, if I want to breed a guard dog, I might go and select two dogs that have the characteristics I want, and put them in the way of each other so that they can breed.

    The dogs know what to do, and they produce my guard dog puppy. But they have no inkling as to *why* they were brought together when they were – to them the matter is just a random event. They have no clue that I arranged the situation for my own purpose.

    It’s the same with us and God. As with me and my dogs, His intervention in our lives will most often seem like coincidences or luck. But that doesn’t mean they have no purpose, beyond our understanding.

    Do not confuse the reason with the cause.